Return to Aster Street Gardens; Harmony Grove Village Festival rescheduled

Sustainable Heroes get to work at Aster Gardens.

Return to Aster Street Gardens

Ahmed Hassan returned to Aster Street Gardens recently and found all systems go for his Sustainable Heroes project that transformed a parched piece of transitional housing dirt into a landscaping delight.

“Doing projects that are impossible and meaningful is a passion,” Hassan said after touring the 495 Aster St. development that features a one-year transitional housing program for the needy who have fallen on difficult times, and often have been homeless.

“It’s marvelous to see how people are benefitting from our volunteering efforts,” Hassan said. “We wanted to call ourselves badasses for good causes when we started, but it was too edgy. So, we settled on Sustainable Heroes. It’s all about us figuring out how we can sustain this.”

Hassan added: “I’m a driver, teacher, philosopher, pusher, I push, push, push everyone because we have to get it done. My job is to encourage. Duane is a good commander in chief.”

Hassan is well-known in many circles for his work as host of 129 DIY Network/HGTV “Yard Crashers,” from 2008 to 2014. After ending the show, he began Sustainable Heroes with outdoor living designer Duane Draughon. They brought in a team of 30 nationwide volunteers, most of whom paid their own way, to help transform Aster Gardens just before Thanksgiving.

Ahmed Hassan, left, with cameraman at the Aster Gardens during the transformation.

Ahmed Hassan, left, with cameraman at the Aster Gardens during the transformation.

Volunteers came to the scene through several avenues. Many flew and drove in from Midwest as volunteers on this, the third charity landscaping project by the Chicago-based Sustainable Heroes. Others came through San Diego-area volunteer groups and foundations.

The project created an amazing outdoor landscape/foodscape and congregating space for the parents, children, families, veterans and countless others served by Interfaith Community Services. The housing center supports over 400 individuals annually, including homeless parents and children, as well as seniors, adults with disabilities and veterans.

For more about Interfaith Community Services “Helping People Help Themselves” visit For more about Sustainable Heroes, visit

Harmony Grove Village Spring Festival

Harmony Groves Village has a promotional festival next month.

Harmony Groves Village has a promotional festival next month.


For time immemorial, egg farms, a couple of dairies and handful of small houses dotted the Harmony Grove landscape. That’s all changed with  the master-planned Harmony Grove Village and its 740 homes now in place and ready to house new area residents.

On May 7, the public is invited to celebrate the season at the Harmony Grove Village Spring Family Festival. The fest was scheduled in April, but the threat of rain moved it to 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. May 7 at 4th of July Park, 2815 Starry Night Drive.

Hosted by Standard Pacific Homes, the free spring festival will be DJ’d by KSON radio personalities and feature live music and refreshments, children’s entertainment and stuff for adults to do, too, organizers said. The country-western band Nancarrow will serenade guests.

In addition to the festival, guests can tour more than a dozen designer-decorated model homes throughout the community. Model homes open at 10 a.m.

“The Spring Family Festival encourages families to enjoy the outdoors and get a taste of life at Harmony Grove Village,” Laurie Massas,  Standard Pacific Homes San Diego vice-president of sales and marketing, said.

For more information about Harmony Grove Village, please call online sales counselor Stephanie Norris at (949) 751-8951 or visit

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